Al Futtaim Motors opens largest Toyota service centre in UAE
We usually don’t care when a car dealer holds an event to open a new service centre. In fact, we’ve never bothered attending any before. So when Al Futtaim Motors invited us to a Toyota service-centre inauguration, in the evening no less, we had half a mind not to go. But we did go. And damn can they throw a party.
First off, it’s great to see that a local dealer is taking the initiative to expand their aftersales service facilities in line with the growth in customer numbers. There are a few other brands who’ve experienced sudden sales growth due to great products from the parent factory, but they continue to operate out of crappy service facilities that are now overcrowded, pumping their new-found wealth into selling even more cars instead.
This new Al Futtaim Motors service centre, next to Al Badia Golf Course in Dubai Festival City, is now their largest facility, and the newest one after inaugurating another service centre on Sheikh Zayed Road just last month.
The event was totally unexpected, as the entrance had people greeting us, pointing towards an indoor valet area, the path lit by flashing red lights all the way. They even hired female models to hand us the valet tickets, which really takes the cake!
At some point, we were given a guided tour of the fully-airconditioned facility, where the super-clean service bays have touchscreens, motorised scooters carry around parts, and service-advisors will meet customers in semi-enclosed booths. All this is much fancier than even the Range Rover service-centre that I’ve become a regular visitor at.
While regular Toyota customers coming in for service in the future won’t get the free sushi, the live magician and the huge display screens that we experienced, what they will get is a warm welcome by a team of hosts offering technical advice before guiding to their dedicated service advisor.
Once the vehicles have been booked in, guests are invited to the dedicated customer lounge where they can enjoy refreshments from Caribou Coffee, surf the web, view the latest new models displayed or flick through the integrated iPad-style table-top brochures.
After service or repair, each vehicle will be taken through the new environmental-friendly brushless car wash facility, capable of cleaning 100 cars every hour, before being vacuumed and placed in the air-conditioned delivery area ready for return.
The facility targets to minimize the wait time due to an effective scheduling system which can receive and process up to 30 cars at the same time. With a current capacity of 400 cars a day, all scheduled services will finish in one day. Customers will be given the choice to be taken to the nearest mall or metro station by courtesy shuttle.
Spanning over 14,500 square-metres, the fully air-conditioned outlet employs 105 technicians manning 82 service bays equipped with their own recycling solutions. It features a host of energy saving features that include atriums for natural day light and a solar-powered lighting system for the 100-capacity car park. The centre’s car wash operation is fitted with technology that directs used water to the recycling plant of the facility which also includes a compartmented scrap yard for waste segregation.
The new Al Badia facility operates seven days a week and will be offering extended opening hours.